The last few days of 2019 found me suffering with the effects of a bad cold that had me sleeping instead of watching the ball drop as we passed into the now infamous 2020. Little did I know that instead of a year of 2020 vision we would have a year of great confusion, deep divisions, a health crisis, economic uncertainty, social turmoil, and a mad dash for toilet paper!
Despite such a tumultuous year, I have experienced deep enjoyment of the Lord and all His bounty. I have found joy in the smallest of things, a well-made sandwich, a juicy strawberry, a walk along the shore or around the block on a pleasant evening, or a great conversation with my husband. When all the fast-paced parts of life are sidelined the important things come into focus.
I have paid close attention to the ensuing cultural battles polarizing our nation. I watch the dueling swords wielded with unrestrained tongues. I see the fearmongering and shock tactics, the victim mentalities, and carelessness and strife in social media posts.
I watch as erroneous arguments are made to oppose errors they are designed to negate. One worldview blunder tries to stand up against another and neither do anything but clamor for superiority. One group cites mainstream sources as authority while the other has made quoting conspiracists common place. Perhaps the real answers lie elsewhere. To be frank, I do not trust the group think of either camp. I have not abandoned my conservative thinking, but I do not accept all I hear just because it comes from my tribe. I am looking for voices who are saying something different. There I find someone who thinks.
Thinking people take the information coming in from all sources and consider it. They do not dismiss it simply because it came from the other camp. They see truth wherever it is found. Thinking people ask questions of all sorts. They investigate. They are slow to form a firm conviction on the evidence waiting until it is all gathered and understood. They know that truth has the weight of reality and can be observed, witnessed, and agreed upon when it is present.
Of course, one can have strongholds that blind and convince one of his own rightness and therefore be unable to reasonably accept what is truth. But if absolutely no one except the already convinced can see this truth and change his mind to its credibility then the evidence itself is in question.
I am stunned at how often I speak to people who seem to not live on the same planet with the same internet and statistics as the next person I speak to. Now, hold on a second. Do not shake your head with me at “the other” group you are imagining I am talking about. Reasonable, intelligent, educated people are seeing drastically differently, and neither group (since they all seem to boil down so neatly into two groups) are imbecilic, ignorant, stubborn, simply contentious, or ridiculous even though we each have our moments and our extremes.
The divisions between us are inconceivable because they are two worldviews that have been built around extreme opposing ideas. Neither group seems willing to consider what exactly we are fighting about. The particulars are not first principles and yet the first principles are also divided. Instead of looking deeper and finding out what fundamental truths we are missing we argue the news highlights of 2020 which may not even matter in five years. We hold on to these momentary tribulations as if they are the foundations of justice, love, truth, godliness, righteousness, and national stability.
Our problems run deeper than who is President. They dive deeper than who is nominated to the Supreme Court. They permeate below the surface of mask mandates and quarantines. No, I do not mean grander plots to ruin America. I mean our own thinking and disunity that is dismantling our nation. We argue that we are trying to stop the liberal take over of America so that more people can get saved before it is all destroyed. We want to stop the tyranny so that we can have greater freedom today.
But what were we doing with our freedom? How many people did we disciple over the last four years? How many disciple makers did we make? What did we do to create reformation in our own lives, in our home, neighborhood, and families we go to church with? What are our plans for the next four years since we think in election cycles? How are you going to disciple your children, grandchildren, and generations henceforth?
Do you know the ideas that made America great? Do you know how we arrive at the ideas of justice? Do you know why the Ten Commandments matter to nations? It is not enough to have them posted on the walls of the courthouses if we do not know what they have to do with building a nation. Do we know why America enjoys such amazing levels of liberty? We know we want to keep our liberty, but do we know how it is achieved, maintained, and passed on?
Do we know that we can make a huge difference no matter who is President in the future stability of our nation? The number of people who fit in my living room can turn this nation around without being in political power. My living room is not large.
I commented to my husband yesterday that if we all just read the Bible maybe we would become Christians! I do not mean simply saved believers. I mean Christian in our worldview, passion, sensibilities, power of persuasion, theology, tenacity, boldness, love, truth, and Kingdom power. Just read the book of Acts. The disciples were not victims of Caesar. They evangelized the known world without permission.
What were we doing with our freedom when we could go into a business without a mask, work at our place of employment, go to church, and meet with whomever and how many we wanted to?
Our focus has narrowed onto fighting against what we cannot do. I wonder who benefits when our freedom is exercised against our restraints, instead of utilized to set others free from the restraints they do not know they have. So much of our mental capacity is taken up fighting against those who are taking our freedom that we have no energy left to use our freedom to create more freedom for generations.
I just wonder if we are not creating our own restraints and therefore hindering the nation further through our participation in these momentary trials. Frodo could have stayed and fought in the Shire never making it to Mordor to end the war for good. He would have lost the Shire and Middle Earth. Be careful as to what becomes a distraction from your mission.
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“An enemy is not needed to destroy a great civilization. It can self-destruct by forgetting the ideas that made its language, literature, family, education, politics, economy, laws and judiciary great. Many feel the need to re-form America that no longer knows what is love, marriage, divorce, male and female, family or nation. In this powerful premier, Karla Perry explains what made America great in the first place and how it can again become a blessing to its citizens and a light to the world.”
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